And now, as we wonder what the world is coming to, this: Kentucky Christian University To Add Varsity Football.
Bad idea. Now before I tell you why this is a bad idea, I should be upfront about my hatred for KCU [or, as we old schoolers used to know it, KCC]. Now I have a deep respect and appreciation for the school as far as a ministry preparation school; they have produced some great pastors. But, actually, it's their athletic program I can't stand. Whether playing, coaching, or cheering against, I've never despised a program as much as KCU [not even Elder]. They were are rivals, and it always got dirty. It was Ohio State/Michigan, Red Sox/Yankees, Smurfs/Gargamel. One of the greatest moments of my life was captaining CCU [or CBC, whatever] to the 1999 regional championship over Kentucky Christian on their home field.
Despite this bias, I believe I can still objectively say that this is a very bad idea. Just looking at their three-fold reasoning for wanting football, you can see where they're in trouble.
First, they want to add diversity to campus. I assume that's the nice way to say that African American males play football and will come to KCU for the opportunity. This could be true except that 1) it will be a non-scholarship program and 2) they're in GRAYSON, KENTUCKY!!! Ever been to Grayson? Go to the end of the world and go left ten miles. Few black males from the city will want to be in a rural setting.
Second, they say it will increase campus culture. They might be right, but at what cost? The facilities for a football program will cost about $2million. I think students would appreciate campus culture more if you dropped the $2mill into a movie theater. Or maybe save the cash and drop tuition.
And finally, the University is hoping to a football program will raise financial revenue. They estimate it will bring more than 100 additional males to school there. That's a rather generous figure considering a good amount of players-to-be are already on campus waiting for a program. And claims that the cost of the program will be deferred by the tuition of the players- that 1/3 of a player's college costs will fund the program- are optimistic.
The reality is that there is no more expensive sport than football. That's why few smaller schools have it, and even fewer that are non-scholarship. Starting any new athletic program at a collegiate level is difficult. I know first hand from starting CCU's women's soccer program, and the costs where minimalistic. I'm afraid KCU is biting off more than they can chew here. I pray it doesn't hurt their overall mission.
The real problem KCU and other small ministry-prep schools face is lack of contentment with what they are. In this world where success in only measured in numerical growth, Christian colleges struggle to accept the current state of their ministries. Instead of adding academic and athletic programs to attract students, maybe schools could understand that they don't have to be Liberty University. I'm all for getting more males and more diversity in our preacher colleges, but there must be better ways to go about it than the pigskin.
I'm just afraid my alma mater will lose focus and feel the need to "keep up with the Jones'." No need for a Hail Mary here.